Arnold Kling put up a chart which shows how the Masters of the Universe were empty suits. He says:
The pattern is big egos, big money, and big power offering big promises, getting big media play, and making big mistakes (Spitzer’s mistakes were relatively small, to be honest). To me, the fiscal stimulus represents yet another redistribution of power away from ordinary people and toward the elite, when already the imbalance is too high. I am more worried about rot at the top of society than at the bottom.
Kling notes that there is also rot at the bottom; the speculative credit binge mentality trickled down, you know what I’m talking about. American consumer spending has been based on foreign credit for years now. But we don’t have sober elites, rather, it’s public choice theory gone wild in application. Power corrupts. What to do? I’m an atheist, but I’m incline to say pray and hope for a miracle.
My main consolation is that just as humans are prone to irrational exuberance, we can get into dark funks insulated from the shades of gray. Hopefully my pessimism can be abolished by the reality that despite the evil of individuals, our institutional frameworks are fundamentally robust and so will eventually channel the animal passions appropriately.